Project “Roses for Nangarhar” on the way to Afghan ownership
KABUL (Pajhwok): In a well-attended ceremony, the governments of Germany and Afghanistan on Tuesday took the first step in transferring the “Roses for Nangarhar” development project to an Afghan company, Afghan Roses Ltd.
The ceremony that held at the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), a memorandum of understanding was signed with the goal of transferring the project from public to private Afghan ownership.
As one of Germany’s most successful projects in its development cooperation with Afghanistan, “Roses for Nangarhar” showed great potential in promoting exports of Afghan rose oil, keeping and creating jobs and generating a legal income for the rural population.
As Ms. Nicole A. Hofmann, deputy head of development cooperation from the German Embassy in Kabul, said at the signing ceremony: “Rose oil is very valuable; a one-litre bottle is worth more than $5,000. As an export item, it is highly feasible and demand is high. Today’s ceremony marks the completion of a German-Afghan development project and the start of an economically successful and socially responsible enterprise nurturing Afghan-German trade relations.”
MRRD Minister Nasir Ahmad Durrani added: “This is a successful project that embodies the vision of the new government--- support to agricultural production, development of private enterprise, commercial linkages to the domestic and international markets, and an increase in income to the farmers working in the fields.”
Representatives from Deutsche GesellschaftfürInternationaleZusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and Welthungerhilfe joined the minister and Ms. Hofmann at the signing ceremony.
“Roses for Nangarhar” started in 2004 as part of a cooperation programme with the MRRD funded by the European Union. Between 2009 and 2013, it received direct support from the German government, with GIZ and Welthungerhilfe responsible for managing the project.
Cultivation of roses can guarantee farmers a stable long-term source of income. The aim was to provide former poppy farmers with an alternative to cultivating drugs illegally, in this case, by growing roses.
Rose production was chosen as a potential alternative to growing poppy due to the fact that roses are a raw product for the distillation to rose oil, a high quality niche product.
After processing the flowers into organic rose oil, the product can be sold in the international market. Today, instead of opium poppies, some 800 farmers grow roses for oil on 105 hectares of farmland in the Nangarhar highlands. Total production in the region has risen from 1.7 kgs in 2006 to 101 kgs in 2014.
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